Mike Zimmer Already Fixing One of Dan Quinn's Biggest Mistakes

The new defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys is already making some changes.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys haven't made significant additions to their roster in free agency as they are bringing back most of their core back, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The splashy free agent signings Cowboys fans were hoping for never came but Dallas still has plenty of talent to continue to be elite on both ends.

There will still be plenty of changes defensively as well. The defensive coordinator for the past three years, Dan Quinn, left for the Washington Commanders. The Cowboys replaced him with one of the most experienced coaches out there, Mike Zimmer.

Zimmer has already highlighted his intention to make some changes, especially in run defense, where the team struggled under Quinn, despite having one of the best overall defenses in the league.

With that goal in mind, the Cowboys are reportedly moving Markquese Bell from linebacker to safety to begin next season.

Cowboys News: Markquese Bell Moving Back to Safety

Markquese Bell was signed by the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft. The Florida A&M product played at safety in college. As a rookie for the Cowboys, he was seldom used. When he became a part of the rotation last season, Dan Quinn utilized him exclusively at linebacker.

In both Bell and Quinn's defense, the Cowboys were short-handed at linebacker and Bell actually performed admirably there, finishing with a 76.8 grade on PFF and ranking 18th overall among all qualified linebackers in the league. He racked up 94 tackles, four passes defended, and two forced fumbles.

However, it's also clear that Bell doesn't have the physical profile needed to be a full-time linebacker. He was exposed at the highest levels due to his lack of experience and strength. He is built more like a safety with a 6'3, 205 lbs frame. It's no surprise that his strong PFF grade came with an outstanding 87.6 in coverage but just 62.9 against the run.

Mike Zimmer already indicated his desire to have more size and strength at linebacker, signing his former player Eric Kendricks to provide that.

The Cowboys currently have Malik Hooker and Donovan Wilson as their starting safeties. Hooker certainly has the starting role locked up, but Bell could claim the other spot with an impressive training camp.

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